Kristin Branch

My day job is being the director of the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Analytics & Insights at UW-Madison. In addition I’m a twin mom, a wife, a novice gardener and a constant weed puller. I also do some career and life coaching.

At UW, I describe myself as wearing many hats: I teach, I’m a career coach but overall I connect the marketing industry to our students, especially those in the graduate program in marketing.

I grew up in Milwaukee and my family was always more of a Marquette family than a UW family. I did my undergraduate in Colorado but pretty quickly realized I should have gone to UW. I did my MBA here and it was a transformative experience.

After graduation, I moved to Pittsburgh but I continued to have a warm spot for UW in my heart. I was always asking how I could help, how I could mentor, how I could teach. And when an opportunity came open about 15 years ago, I jumped at it. It’s one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made. Plus, I love living in Madison. It’s a very special place.

I’m still a marketer, but now I market students’ careers and futures and help people figure out what they want to do with their lives. And that’s a pretty awesome thing to be marketing.

Through education, networking, connections and self discovery I get to help people figure out what makes them happy. And that makes me happy!

My most memorable caffeine is the café au lait at Barriques.

I discovered it when I came here for grad school. I’d order café au lait elsewhere. I tried to make it at home. But it was never the same. Then I learned Barrique’s secret: cold brew. It makes a smooth, delicious, velvety café au lait.

When I moved to Pittsburgh I would try to coach barristas through making a café au lait the Barriques way and it was never the same. I’d think to myself, “I guess that’s just my Madison coffee.”

But then I moved back to Madison and I was so lucky to have a Barriques just down the road—I’ll walk out of my way just to have it and I’m so grateful for that splurge.

It’s created coffee that’s more of a sensory experience rather than just a jolt I needed in the morning. It’s become my time, my gift to myself.

My current caffeine of choice is the café au lait I make at home with my own cold brew.

My favorite place for caffeine is, naturally, Barriques.

The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is Becky Blank, chancellor of UW-Madison.

I am so impressed with her leadership at or for UW. It’s incredibly hard to be a leader of education right now—dealing with the pandemic and the funding challenges.

I’m impressed with her as a leader, as an educator and as a person.

She speaks very clearly around one key contributor to her success: marrying wisely. Her husband took on the main commitment of raising their child, which allowed her to pursue her career – I have a similarly awesome, supportive husband (thank goodness!).

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: Discovering more personal happiness.

My wish would be for everyone to have that moment of clarity. Take that time for yourself. Read a book, watch flowers bloom, listen to kids laugh. Try to take those moments that a cup of coffee gives you to reflect on what’s important, what bring you a smile. In giving yourself that moment of time, you have the energy to advocate for others.